I’ve always been a bookworm and it’s no secret that I believe one of the many ways that God finds it easiest to communicate with me is through books. What a sight to see at Barnes & Noble, when my heart is heavy and I have been asking for Divine help. I have been known to go to a section, rip 10 books off the shelf and sift through the pile. I mostly do this method for the sake of touching the book because the one or two that I feel like I can’t leave the store without, typically are the ones that I ‘need’ at that moment depending on the situation in question. I always rely on God to give me what I need this way, so it is a rare instance that I read a book without a highlighter in hand. Now that you know some of the mysterious workings of God’s and my relationship, I will get to the ‘how’ it all began.
My sister and I have been the best and worst of friends our entire lives. Our relationship is strong and fragile all at the same time, but we are working on that. Coming out of a recent fragile period, we have been trying to get back to not just a good place, but a great place. I don’t quite remember how the conversation came up over the phone one night two weeks ago but we began to talk about God. Ooh! That’s a scary subject in our family. So we were talking and I was I guess preaching in a way. Not in the way that makes me seem superior, but more like teaching and just having a loving conversation about some of my beliefs. There were things she asked me about and then she told me, “The things you are saying sound just like a book I’ve partially read. Have you read The Shack?” I told her I had not read it. She began to tell me about it but warned me that there was violence to a child in it. This turned me off to wanting to read the book but it just so happens that I have been praying a lot lately for help in my healing and forgiveness abilities. This process is not a new one to me. I was shown the way to forgive my abusive stepfather but I have been struggling to remember why and how I did that and praying to see the same type of relief in forgiving my ex-husband and father. Boy, do I have a lot of man issues or what? That’s where the book came in, I just didn’t know it at the time. So sis tells me to go get the book and then I go about my week.
The next week goes by and I keep hearing ‘stop by the Goodwill store on your way home from school to check on the books’. I have Southern California’s largest Goodwill store near my college and I have found it to be a goldmine for books that are 1/3 of the price at the bookstore or online. I hear the instruction twice that week because I go to school twice a week but don’t stop. Then finally I give in one day and stop because I know I am getting the guidance for a reason. I’d been putting it off because I know I will always spend $25.00 when I go in and already have about 10 books I have yet to read, but know there must be something there that I need to see. I go in and start going over the 12 or so shelves with a fine tooth comb and on the last shelf, I see it. I grab The Shack along with 10 or so other books and leave. Yep. $25.00, everytime…
I was not even sure that I would read it. As a result of my own abuse, I find it hard to read or watch anything where children are hurt but I began reading it to my husband at night as we went to bed. We made it through the first chapter and that was it before I woke up on the morning and read it start to finish after dropping my son off to school. It took me 6.5 hours but between what I call the ‘ugly’ cry and blowing my nose, I had read the book and written 7 inspired pages for my own forthcoming book.
I thanked God for it too. There is much healing in our tears and I found parts of myself through many characters in the book. I’ve been the wounded child like the little girl. I’ve been the father who can’t forgive. I’ve been the sister who carries the blame for her sibling. I am the mother who’s faith and relationship with God is strong. I am the author who sees the spiritual relationship of the Holy Trinity and that love is the greatest action to be honored in this experience.
As I process the book and all the emotions today, I know it is no accident. Only perfect timing and answers for the dilemmas I have been asking help for. While I had already forgiven my abuser, I dug a little deeper today. Remembering that forgiveness is not a one-time thing, but a process of action. To remember why and how, to remind me to do every day until it becomes a part of me.
Last night my mom told me to stay home as I would be receiving something (she can’t keep a secret but don’t tell her I told you). I think she just didn’t want me to miss the delivery. As soon as she said it though, I saw a beautiful bouquet of flowers in my mind’s eye and I told her, ‘You’re sending me flowers, I saw them!’.
The funniest thing happened this afternoon though. My mom called and the first thing she asked was, ‘have you been crying?’. I told her yes and we discussed the book but she really called to let me know that the delivery was on its way. I told her that God must’ve known that my heart and soul would need to know and feel loved today given the past six hours and that’s probably why she had been inspired to order them for me several days before…to make it just in the nick of time. My mom told me that she had not ordered flowers but had ordered a money tree to put in my meditation room as a way to send love over the holidays since we would be apart. I was surprised by this and I told her because I specifically saw a beautiful spray in a vase. I trust what I get from divine. So as we were on the phone, the doorbell rang and it was my delivery. I opened the door and the woman handed me a box of chocolates and a gorgeous bouquet in a vase. I said “See, I knew you were messing with me. The flowers are beautiful!” but my mom was shocked and insisted the order was incorrect. She scrambled off the phone to call customer service and was told that the correct plant would be delivered tomorrow, free of charge but I was thrilled. I told mom that it’s not every day that I get a bouquet of flowers from God but it’s just what my heart needed…
P.S. I didn’t know that I was going to wake up and have such a healing and heavy day but this day had been in the making for over two weeks. I’m just glad that everyone who loves me played their part in making it happen, including me.